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TOPIC: Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build

Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build 1 week 4 days ago #55189

The Lancia 037 Rally has an interesting history, both in 1:1 and in model form. The real car won the World Rally Championship constructors' championship in 1983. Audi had come out with the Quattro in 1980 and All Wheel Drive was coming to dominate rally racing. Rear wheel drive was disappearing, and the Lancia 037 was the last RWD car ever to win the constructors' championship. Tamiya was quick to capitalize on the popularity of the historic car, releasing the 58040 Lancia Rally in 1983, the same year it became famous. This model came with a wonderfully detailed hard body mimicking the original perfectly, but was paired with the ORV chassis from the Subaru Brat and common to The Frog. While a perfectly passable chassis for something like the Frog, in my opinion it wasn't right for the Lancia at all. It was much too wide and much too tall and therefore made the car look like some kind of monster truck instead of the rally car it should be. In 2001 Tamiya re-released the body on the belt drive TA-03RS chassis as set 58278 and it finally looked the way it should look. I missed out on that one by a wide margin, but luckily for me they released the 58654 version on the shaft drive TA-02S chassis in 2018. This is a nearly perfect rendition of the car down to the drivers and tires, but it has one critical flaw: the TA-02 is a 4WD chassis. The definitive feature that made the Lancia 037 historic is the fact that it was RWD. Making the model in 4WD is just wrong.

This is a 4WD shaft drive bathtub chassis with four wheel double wishbone suspension and oil filled CVA shocks. The motor is mounted laterally just ahead of the rear axle and the battery ahead of that. This is a very stable chassis which handles well. Off road performance is limited due to the low ground clearance and nearly slick tires, but really this model is about the appearance and it looks fantastic. The chassis could almost certainly handle a lot more power than the stock silver can motor, but I have no desire to roll it over and destroy the body, so for now my copy is completely box stock apart from a set of ball bearings.

The Lancia comes in a small box with beautiful box art. When I opened it, I was initially chagrined at what appeared to be a polycarbonate body, but then I realized it was just the interior with driver figures. Note the tire foams on the right, a rarity for a Tamiya model out of the box.
The TA-02 is a "real" touring car and therefore has a lot of parts, but sadly did not come with ball bearings out of the box. Easy to rectify, but I shouldn't have to.
It is kind of amazing how many parts there are in Step 1 which builds the rear ball differential. I count at least 30. First the 8ea 3mm balls are inserted into the main spur gear using grease. A thrust washer goes on either side followed by a pressure plate which will be used to squeeze the washers and balls and provide the splined connection to the outdrives. Next come a stack of Belleville washers (or "disc springs"). There are 2 on the inside of the thrust bearing and 3 on the outside. These provide a spring rate low enough to make the squeeze adjustable. If you clamped directly onto the balls a tiny turn of the nut would produce a huge change in clamping pressure, but with a stackup of softer springs you can make finer adjustments. The thrust bearing must be built up from 6ea 1/16" balls. I found it interesting that one set of balls is metric and the other Imperial units. Finally a bolt is installed which is used to clamp everything up and make adjustments. The instructions say nothing about how to adjust the ball differential properly, so you need to already know what you are doing.
Now the differential unit is installed in the pearl gunmetal colored housing. Plastic bushings are called for in the instructions, but naturally I swapped them out for ball bearings. The right hand photo shows the other gearbox half installed. Interestingly, the gearbox connects front to back rather than side to side.

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Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build 1 week 4 days ago #55190

The standard 540 motor bolts to an indexing motor mount which supports pinion gears from 16 to 21 teeth. The kit supplied gear is the highest speed gear, the 21 tooth. The instructions say never to use any other motor or pinion gear which seems like a strange thing to say for a touring car like this. For now I will obey, but I intend to rebel later.
The weakest point in the drivertrain must surely be this bevel gear which is built into the spur. As you can see in the right hand image, the bevel isn't needed to drive the rear wheels, but does turn the corner to drive the propeller shaft which runs to the front wheels.
With the rear gearbox buttoned up we can add the suspension arms, the dogbones, the hubs, and the drive cups. Everything attaches to the gearbox housings with screw pins.
You might expect to see basically the same differential and gearbox up front, but you'd be wrong. In front we get a standard open gear differential. It is not oil filled so the resistance is not really adjustable. The front housing is the same interesting color.

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Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build 1 week 4 days ago #55192

The front uses the same type of bevel gears. I say they look weak, but that's really only in comparison to the other gears. The pitch and face width are pretty large and certainly adequate for the kit supplied motor. We'll see if they hold up to something stronger. Note the tiny 5x8 bearing on the bevel gear shaft. It won't support much load. The long cantilevered mounting arm of the gearbox housing shown in the right hand image also seems like a potential weak point.
Now I've enclosed the front gearbox and installed the front suspension arms, C-hubs, and steering knuckles. The front arms are pinned with a big u-bolt as shown. I'm not sure why the steering knuckles are blue since they seem to clash with the rest of the chassis a bit. They are made from a harder and stiffer plastic than the arms.

The kit uses standard oil filled CVA dampers which use the parts shown. All 4 are identical including the springs. It helps to have an E-clip tool and a shock pliers when building them.
The front and rear gearbox assemblies are modular which means they can be removed intact from the vehicle and serviced or cleaned. This image shows the completed front and rear assemblies with the shocks installed, ready to attached to the chassis.

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Last edit: by blakbird.

Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build 1 week 4 days ago #55193

The main part of the chassis is a one piece bathtub. The battery sits in the lateral slot with a cover over the top which will support the electronics. Like many older vehicles, this one is specifically sized to fit a rounded stick pack and will have trouble with anything else. The steering servo connects to a dual bellcrank system. No bearing on the cranks and they are connected together with a Z-rod which means there is plenty of slop in the steering.
Now the front and rear suspension assemblies can be installed and it finally starts to look like a car chassis. The front bumper is a truly prodigious chunk of plastic. I thought of removing it for scale, but it actually hides pretty well with the body on and will do a good job of protecting the shell. The rear bumper, on the other hand, is just a little nubbin. To complete the rolling chassis I've installed the wheels and tires. The wheels are a very nice replica of real rally wheels and look excellent.
The gorgeous hard shell body comes molded in white, but that didn't stop me from painting in white anyway. The shine is much better that way. Then there was the long arduous process of applying the stickers. I would much have preferred water slide decals at this scale because large stickers are very difficult to keep straight and free of bubbles. They came out pretty well in the end. There are also plenty of other details to paint including the front marker lights, tail lights, heater intake grilles, and wipers. The model comes with transparent tinted windows.
Unlike most touring cars, this one even comes with a set of drivers. This starts as a molded sheet which must be trimmed and painted. The driver's heads and the steering wheel are separate parts. Painting took quite a long time, but it really improves the realism of the car.
Here are some final shots of the car once fully detailed and clear coated. I chose not to paint the black trim around the windows because I was too afraid of screwing it up. I did mask and paint the louvers on the rear bumper.

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Last edit: by blakbird.

Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build 1 week 4 days ago #55194

It is pretty rare for a touring car to have a hard body, and this is the only one in my collection to feature one. Strictly speaking, I suppose this adds weight and therefore reduces performance, but man it sure looks great. I would put hard bodies on everything if I could. With the gorgeous Martini stripes, the rally light buckets, and the drivers this car looks incredible.
Here's a comparison of the model to the real thing. No complaints.
The following user(s) Liked this: oldwilly, SandScorcher1

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Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build 1 week 4 days ago #55199

Pretty nice chassis. It is the short wheelebase version with the taisan grey gearbox. You can also add some leds into the lightbar like the 58040. 3mm leds for the bar and 5mm for main lights. It gives a nice rallye style.

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Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build 1 week 4 days ago #55200

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Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build 1 week 3 days ago #55201

stingray-63 wrote: You can also add some leds into the lightbar like the 58040. 3mm leds for the bar and 5mm for main lights. It gives a nice rallye style.

That's certainly something I'm considering. You are right about it looking really good with lights.

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Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build 1 week 3 days ago #55206

Warm white leds should be better. But it looks fine with white cold leds. :p

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Blakbird's 58654 Lancia 037 Rally (TA-02) Build 1 week 3 days ago #55211

stingray-63 wrote: Warm white leds should be better. But it looks fine with white cold leds. :p

Agreed. I have some of the 5mm halogen colored LEDs from Tamiya, but I'm not sure they have them in 3mm yet.

Edit: I was wrong. For the TLU-01 units, 54599 are 3mm LEDs and 54600 are 5mm and are called "halogen". For the MFC units used in tractor trucks, 56521 are 3mm and 56522 are 5mm and are called "light amber". Not sure why they use different names since they appear to be the same color.

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Last edit: by blakbird.
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